The Bantam A Mustangs squad wasn’t the biggest team, the highest-tiered team, the oldest or most experienced.
But the Mustangs team was the only one to leave the Revelstoke Bantam Rep Tournament undefeated on Sunday in B.C.
The Whitehorse rep team outscored the competition 37-9 in five games on their first road trip of the season.
“We went down with only two players who played with the Bantam Mustangs prior to this year … and I think we had two under-age kids and 11 first-years,” said Mustangs head coach Martin Lawrie. “So it’s a very young team, very inexperienced. So to have this result, I was very pleased.”
“I don’t think we expected to win by the amount that we did,” said Mustangs captain Mathew Cooper. “We did pretty good for our first tournament of the year.”
It was technically a Tier 3/4 tournament, but the Tier 3 Mustangs had to climb over a pair of Tier 2 teams along the way.
Whitehorse captured the gold with a 9-2 thumping of the Merritt Centennials, a Tier 2 team that arrived in the final undefeated.
“Their whole team was bigger than our team,” said Cooper. “Our team was small compared to them.
“They couldn’t get the puck out of their zone. We had a good forecheck going and their forwards were all offensive players. They didn’t have a lot of defensive players. So once we got it stuck in their zone, they couldn’t get it out and that gave us a lot of opportunities to score.”
The game was tied 1-1 at the end of the first before the Mustangs piled in three goals in the second and five in the third.
“We did a good job at wearing that team down,” said Lawrie.
Mustangs forward Gavin Lawrie saved his best for last with three goals and three assists. Ethan Lavallee scored three goals.
Whitehorse defenceman Cruz Goodman had a goal and two assists and Cooper, also on defence, had three assists.
“Outside of the first game, the scores are a little bit deceiving,” said Martin. “The games were a little tighter than the score (shows). We buried teams late.”
The Mustangs advanced to the final with a 5-3 win over the Salmon Arm Silvertips.
Mustangs’ Bryce Anderson had three assists while line-mate Dylan Cozens knocked in two goals. The two forwards have a busy season moonlighting in store, also playing for the Peewee A Mustangs.
Lavallee also contributed a pair of goals and Cooper a pair of assists in the semifinal.
The Whitehorse squad opened the tournament by decimating the home-team Revelstoke Grizzlies 10-0 in the first of three round-robin games.
Forward Kole Comin had a goal and four assists. Joe Stokes left with three goals and an assist.
“A good surprise for us was first-year Dylan Kindervater with three assists in that game,” said Martin.
Whitehorse goalies Tynan Hope and Ethan Vanderkley split the net-minding duties in the shutout.
Hope, who is a second-year bantam, plugged the net in the semi and final.
“Obviously the goalies played solid,” said Martin. “I think we ended with a goals against average of about two.
“Tynan played the semi and the final for us. He’s a second-year (player). That being said, Ethan was definitely solid in the games he played for us.
“I think we’re in pretty good shape from a goaltending perspective. We have a third one at home who didn’t travel with us – Rory Sinclair-Eckert – who is a very strong goalie.”
“(Hope) played really well in all the games and kept us in it,” added Cooper.
The Mustangs then went 5-3 over the Tier 2 Vernon Vipers.
Cozens and Comin each had two goals while Gavin Lawrie helped out with two assists.
Whitehorse advanced into the semis with an 8-1 win over the Tier 3 Langley Eagles. Lavallee caught fire in the game, amassing five goals.
Cooper was named captain shortly before leaving for Revelstoke.
“It felt pretty good to wear the ‘C’ and to win the first tournament being captain,” he said.
Revelstoke marks the second tournament win of the season for the Mustangs club.
The Peewee A Mustangs bounced back from an early loss to win four straight and take gold at the 11th annual International Seafair Icebreaker Rep Tournament in Richmond, B.C., earlier this month. The Peewee Mustangs beat the South Delta Storm 7-4 to win the Tier 2 tournament.
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